Spain: Competitiveness, sustainability and traceability, key issues for modernizing Spanish agriculture

The government has given the green light to the strategic plan for the agro-food sector, with €1 billion in public investment from European funds. A further €2 billion in private investment is expected to be attracted. This is the fourth recovery plan of the Spanish government and a fifth one will be approved this Q1.


The strategic plan for the agro-food sector has funding and actions to address the environmental, digital, social and economic changes of the next decade. For the time being, between now and 2023 it will have a public investment of €1 billion, which, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, is expected to generate "a starting impact on the economy of about €3 billion" and a "net creation of up to 16,000 jobs".

Insufficient funding

In any case, those €1 billion represent "only 0.75% of the total amount pre-allocated to Spain of €140 billion", expert César Lumbreras complains. Mauricio García de Quevedo, general manager of FIAB, the sectoral organization of food and beverage manufacturers, has a similar opinion. “I think that, given the importance of Spanish food industry in the national economy, the amount allocated from European funds is insufficient to transform the sector," he states.

Perte fábrica

Mr. García de Quevedo also says that it is very important that this plan has confirmed the strategic nature of the sector, but is confident that it will be supported by a line of direct aid that will allow that definitive transformation.

The livestock-meat sector thinks that the new plan will make it possible to advance in sustainability and digitalization. In addition, its member organizations expressed their satisfaction because this funding will enable them to shore up Spain's position at the forefront of the meat sector.

Plan Priorities

The Ministry of Agriculture has specified that this strategic plan is based on three priorities (Fig. 1).

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Fig. 1. Recovery plan’s priorities for the agro-food sector

The first one is a specific support package for the agri-food industries, endowed with €400 million, aimed at improving production processes in order to increase the competitiveness, sustainability and traceability of their products.

The second includes support measures for digitalization, endowed with €454.35 million. It is aimed at supporting the digital adaptation process of all operators in the value chain.

The last priority includes specific measures to support innovation and research and has an allocation of €148.56 million (Fig. 2).

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Fig. 2. Public funding allocation by agro-food priorities

The Recovery Strategic Plan for the agro-food sector in Spanish here:

Spanish Strategic Plans

The Spanish government has so far approved three other projects of this nature: for the development of the electric vehicle, for cutting-edge health and for renewable energy. In the first quarter of 2022, another plan will be approved to digitize the water sector. The tourism sector (with a weight in the national GDP of 13% before the pandemic) has also applied for a project without success up to now.

Background info on the European Recovery Fund in Spain: